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Flavius Josephus and Flavian Rome$
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Jonathan Edmondson, Steve Mason, and James Rives

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199262120

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199262120.001.0001

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The Sack of the Temple in Josephus and Tacitus

The Sack of the Temple in Josephus and Tacitus

Chapter:
(p.129) 6 The Sack of the Temple in Josephus and Tacitus
Source:
Flavius Josephus and Flavian Rome
Author(s):

T. D. Barnes

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199262120.003.0007

Comparing Josephus’ and Tacitus’ (lost) account of the sack of the Temple in Jerusalem from Histories Book 5, this chapter underlines the importance of the Jewish War as a central defining event (or even a ‘foundation myth’) for the Flavian dynasty. There was not one, but in fact three successive versions of this foundation myth; the first, developed in the 70s, glorified Vespasian, the second gave much greater prominence to Titus, while the third integrated Domitian into the story. Josephus may well have used as a source the (lost) histories of Pliny the Elder, which probably ended by describing the triumphal procession of 71. As a result, there is some evidence for Josephus using a Latin historian and, more generally, for his conscious reworking of such material to suit the particular situation in which he found himself while writing the Jewish War.

Keywords:   Temple of Jerusalem, Flavian emperors, Flavian victory, Judaea, Sulpicius Severus, Cassius Dio, Pliny the Elder, historiography, A. Caecina Alienus

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